By: Roberta Jasina

The Kentucky Derby isn’t until Saturday, but a Detroit-area woman has already won — big time.

Gena Conti says she has made and sold more than 100 fancy, high-fashion, women’s hats for Derby Day this weekend. Maybe you’ll see some of them on TV Saturday at Churchill Downs.

View a photo gallery of the hats, here.

Conti, who has been making hats for 20 years, said her business has more than doubled from last year, and she now has clients all around the world.

“I absolutely adore making hats. Hats are the cherry on the cake. They’re functional, attractive, sexy, romantic. They’re for special occasions and they’re for no occasion at all. All you need to wear a hat, is a head,” said Conti.

But her cool couture doesn’t come cheap. Prices for Conti’s custom hats range from $75 to $750 or more.

“It’s outrageously fun and wild. And we don’t sleep much. It’s exciting. Derby is spectacular. Two weeks later it’s Preakness, and I have Preakness hat orders. It’s Wild!”

Gena Conti’s hat shop is located at 2732 Biddle in Wyandotte. She says it’s “fashionably” nestled between a Tim Horton’s and a funeral home.

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